This editorial will appear in tomorrow’s print edition.
For nonprofit arts organizations, the recession has been a hurricane that pummels them first from one direction and then from the other.
The storm is raging across the country, across the region and in Pierce County. Private donors, feeling the pinch to their own pocketbooks and hits to their investments, have less money to give to the arts.
Attendance at full-price events is down as many patrons prioritize their spending and opt for low-cost matinees, free days or staying home. Finally, local and state governments have reduced or even eliminated what little funding they give to the arts.
But to make this storm a perfect one, add something like the proposal the Tacoma City Council is considering to raise revenue: a 5 percent tax on tickets sold by nonprofit museums, theaters and performing arts groups. The only good thing about it is that it would not affect smaller arts groups; the tax would only kick in on sales over $250,000.
One that would be affected is the nonprofit art theater, the Grand Cinema. Its executive director figures he’d have to charge an additional 50 cents on the $7 matinee and $9 evening tickets. He’s afraid that will cut attendance.
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